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Arguably the most common throw in disc golf is the backhand throw. It’s the throw you probably think of first when you imagine disc golf. However, it is far from the only disc golf throw strategy out there
If you’re wanting to improve your game and technique, learning other varieties of throws and what discs are appropriate for those throws is crucial.
So what are the best disc golf discs for sidearm?
In this article, we look at the forehand or sidearm throw and highlight several discs that may work for you.
Types of disc golf throws
There are 5 main categories of throws within disc golf. We’re going to go through each one so you can properly understand the differences.
We’ll start with the most popular: the classic Backhand throw. The name of this throw is actually derived from tennis because the behavior of the throw mimics the backhand tennis stroke.
In order to do the backhand throw, the arm crosses over the front of the body, then moves outward into a release.
If you’re right-handed, your right hand will cross to your left shoulder, then extend out to the side of your right shoulder. You release the disc the moment your arm fully extends out to the right with a snap of your wrist.
Everything about this throw, from the windup to the snap to the follow-through, are all important aspects to master in order to perfect your form and technique.
This is also typically the best throw for beginners to become accustomed to.
The sidearm or forearm throw is quite different from the backhand throw. The grip itself is different. Most professionals recommend grasping the disc with your thumb and two fingers, with the disc snuggly bedded into the fold between your thumb and forefinger.
However, grip can be a highly personal attribute of disc golf, so experiment with what grip feels best for you.
Starting out, your body will be parallel to the target. You’ll wind up your arm up (if you’re right-handed, this will be your right arm) behind you, then fledge the disc forward at a sideways angle.
The throws can be rather complicated to explain without pictures or video demonstrations, which is why we recommend checking out this demonstration of the sidearm throw.
Next is the overhead throw, also known as a tomahawk or hammer throw.
The starting position of the overhead throw is similar to the sidearm throw, but the except is that instead of throwing out to the side, you’ll throw over your head.
This throw resembles throwing a tomahawk which is how it earned its nickname.
Hyzer throws have more to do with how you angle the disc or your arm when you throw it. Hyzers can be thrown in either backhand or sidearm.
The same applies to anhyzer throws. The main difference between the two is that hyzer throws are designed to take advantage of the disc’s natural flight angle, while anhyzer throws are designed to go against the natural angle of the disc.
When to use a sidearm throw
You can use a sidearm on practically any throw in which you might also use a backhand. There are also several scenarios in which it is ideal to use the sidearm throw instead of the classic backhand.
Sidearm is great for achieving long distance, and it is a useful technique for getting around obstacles.
So, while some might say that beginners don’t need to know their sidearm, we recommend you work on both your sidearm and your backhand so you can improve your game and develop more versatile techniques.
What to look for in the best sidearm discs for forehand throws
Some of the problems we run into with throwing forehand or sidearm throws is that they experience more turbulence in the air and are more prone to inaccurate flight patterns than some backhand throws.
In order to combat this, you’ll want to look for disc golf sidearm discs which are more overstable than understable.
When you’re a true beginner, you won’t have to worry about this so much, since understable discs are better for beginners and overstable discs can be quite challenging.
As you’ll see below, the forearm disc we recommend for beginners is understable. However, intermediate and advanced-level players should look out for overstable discs.
Skip this section if you’re an advanced player, but let’s take a moment to explain a few terms crucial for beginners to know and understand.
Understable discs are discs that are more prone to travel to the right during their flight.
Depending on how high the disc’s fade rating is, some understable discs may hook to the left at the end of the flight while others will finish straight.
Overstable discs tend to travel to the left and are great for headwinds and advanced shots. They typically have a harder hook than understable discs will.
All discs are measured based on four criteria: speed, glide, turn, and fade.
Speed the speed at which the disc is able to travel through the air. Speed is measured on a scale of 1 to 14.
Glide describes the disc’s ability to maintain loft during flight. Glide is measured on a scale of 1 to 7.
Turn describes the disc’s tendency to turn to the right while in flight. Turn is measured on a scale of +1 to -5. Discs rated +1 or close to +1 are more stable, while the closer the disc is to -5, the more understable it is. Remember, understable discs are the most beginner friendly.
Fade describes whether or not the disc will hook to the left at the end of the flight when the speed slows down. Fade is measured on a scale of 0 to 5.
Wide rims and heavier weights are other key features of the best disc golf discs for forehand throws because they help increase torque resistance and therefore allow for more stable flight patterns.
Best disc golf discs for sidearm
There are a number of disc options that can work well for sidearm throws. The following products may work well for your recreational or competitive play needs.
Innova Disc Golf DX Sidewinder Golf Disc (Colors may vary)
The Innova Sidewinder is our recommendation for beginners looking for a good starter sidearm disc.
Although the Sidewinder comes in a variety of plastic lines, for true beginners, you may want to consider purchasing the DX Sidewinder.
The DX is an appropriate plastic line for beginners because the polymer blend is a bit softer and easier for beginners to manipulate than some of the harder plastics like Innova’s Champion plastic line.
The DX plastic holds up well in extreme elements and prolonged exposure to the outdoors.
It also breaks in a bit with time meaning that as you continue to hone your skills, you’ll be able to adjust to the gradual flight behavior changes of the disc.
The Innova DX Sidewinder has a flight rating of: Speed 9, Glide 5, Turn -3, and Fade 1. This is a medium speed disc with high glide to help maximize distance.
It is an unstable disc, making it easier for beginners to use, and its low fade rating means it is more likely to maintain a straight and steady path towards the end of the flight.
This disc is PDGA approved and comes in a variety of weight categories: 140 to 150 gram, 151 to 159 gram, 165 to 169 gram, 170 to 172 gram, and 173 to 175 gram.
The weight you choose will depend on your personal preference and what you intend to use the disc for.
If you’re looking for a disc you can use for dual purposes like driving and rolling, then we recommend purchasing a heavier weighted disc, as these are more likely to not only provide better wind resistance, but also roll better and not bounce around.
The Innova Sidewinder has a rim width of 1.8 centimeters, making it capable of faster speeds.
View at Amazon to learn more about how this product may work for you.
- Appropriate sidearm disc for beginner-level players
- Grippy, comfortable plastic blend
- Beginner-level flight ratings
- Variety of weight options
- Can double as either a driver or a roller disc
- You cannot choose a specific color to purchase as the colors vary
For intermediate and advanced players
Discraft Flick Elite Z Golf Disc
The Discraft Flick is one of the best disc golf discs for forehand throws. It’s an advanced disc and should not yet be purchased if you’re still at a beginner-level.
Discraft’s Z plastic line has enhanced durability and medium grip. It is a pro-caliber material reserved for expert players and professionals.
This PDGA approved disc comes in a variety of weights: 150 gram class, 164-166 grams, 167-169 grams, 170-172 grams, and 173-174 grams.
Its rim width is 2.1 centimeters, which means its capable of higher speeds and therefore harder to manipulate.
Its flight rating are: Speed 9, Glide 4, Turn 1, Fade 4. Although this is a medium speed disc, it is highly overstable and has a high fade rating, which means that if you do not have enough developed technique and power to throw the disc, your shot will be inaccurate.
View at Amazon for more information on how this disc may work for you.
- Excellent choice for advanced players and professionals
- High-quality, durable plastic material
- Good grip
- Comes in a variety of weights
- Appropriate flight ratings for a good overstable disc
- Cannot guarantee a color as the colors do vary
Featured image credit: DepositPhotos.com @jarih